A new vegetable snack, resulting from a collaboration between Australia's national science agency and a start-up, is helping to reduce food waste. With food security a growing issue both nationally and internationally, the Nutri V product is made from vegetables that would have been thrown out, but are instead repurposed into a snack.
Around 20 per cent of produce can be thrown out for a variety of reasons. However, Raquel Said, the chief executive of Nutri V, has stated that the aim is to reduce waste from farms entirely. "There isn't anything wrong with these vegetables, they are perfectly fine, perfectly nutritious. They might be out of spec, they might be a surplus from what's been grown. Think maybe too big or too small or a slight blemish on it."
The produce is dried and ground into a powder and then turned into a snack, in an attempt to reduce waste. The drying technology, which had to remove up to 90 per cent of moisture from the vegetables without eliminating the nutritional value, was tested at the CSIRO pilot plant in Victoria.
Dr Michael Robertson, CSIRO director of agriculture and food, said the product is a great example of what the agriculture and food industry can achieve. "We see waste streams all throughout the agri food chain and see opportunities to innovate around that. We've eliminated a loss stream in agriculture, which has required labor and water and nutrients to produce and it's just going to waste, secondly we've turned that into a healthy food product."
Dr Roberston said the aim is now for the snack to be produced at scale which in turn will create jobs.
Coles Chief Executive of Commercial and Express Leah Weckert says the retailer is proud to partner with suppliers to develop a healthier snack that will support the supermarket’s Together to Zero sustainability ambitions by repurposing more than 7,200 tons of recovered vegetables each year.
“Coles is excited to exclusively launch Nutri V Goodies today. Not only will this partnership offer our customers a tasty and healthier snack food, [but] it [also] finds a sustainable solution for perfectly nutritious vegetables that for reasons like oversupply or damage, we couldn’t sell,” she said.